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Presentation 9: The schools we recommend Administrator

Schooling and educational activities are the dominant activity for any school age child. For an internationally adopted child it is an added stressor and an occupation that may lead to miscommunications with peers, the feeling of being an outsider and misfit. It may simply be too much to handle. Thus, the right school placement that would address the educational and social needs of a child without exacerbating the issues stemming from a late start under very unfavorable circumstances is crucial. Inappropriate school placement may become the key factor in derailing the entire life of the adoptive family. In most cases, an initial assessment for the school placement and services is sufficient, but there are cases when public education is no longer an option, and parents have to look for a private specialized day school or residential treatment center (RTC) for their child.

At the BGCenter we envision a specific model of cooperation between Treatment Centers, Schools, and Families, working together to rehabilitate internationally adopted post-institutionalized children with a complex childhood trauma as a three level process, which takes place concurrently on all three levels, but the accent (the main level for a specific child) is shifting sequentially and chronologically. The framework for this model is rooted in theories and practices we were involved with, researched and actually implemented during 3 decades; it is based on 2 major requirements:
1. The child has to be involved in a purposeful and socially meaningful work together with the leading adults and peers. 2. In the process of these joint activities moderated by adults, the appropriate peer relations in the group have to be modeled, formed, and practiced.

Here is the description of the 3 levels of the remedial work:

  • Level 1 (ages 4-12; treatment center-based): Initial mind/body regulatory restoration/rehabilitation to be able self regulate basic psychological functions (what we call between us "OT/PT repair"). That is where EMDR therapy, biofeedback, sensory integration approach, proper nutrition, PT/OT therapy and sports are the focal point and the principal approach to child's remediation.
  • Level 2 (ages 7-16 school-based): Academic remediation and peer socialization are leading in pre-adolescent and adolescent ages. The goal is to maintain progress in the academic achievement and social interactions: these must not be blocked, impaired, or distorted in order to prevent negative self- and peer- perception that affects current and future functioning of the child. The internationally adopted children have to be specifically trained in maintaining positive peer group relations. Participation in "collective" shared and socially meaningful activities under the leadership of a competent and dedicated adult to facilitate this socialization is a must on all levels, but it becomes especially important at level 2.
  • Level 3 (ages 13-21 family-based): Transitioning to adulthood - the goal is the identification of the areas of personal strength; the development and reinforcement of skills and special gifts applicable to future job training, learning and independent living. Reinforcement of emotional self-regulation and self-confidence is the core.

Working with adoptive families and children of different ages, we can recommend several institutions which can address certain needs of international adoptees better than others and where a lot of former BGCenter patients find necessary support and remediation.

We intend to continue the list and we begin with just a few of them below:

  1. CALO, Lake Ozark, Missouri
  2. AAron Academy, New York, New York
  3. Green Chimneys School, Brewster, New York
  4. Reach Learning Centre, Vanquever, Canada
  5. Sandhill Child Development Center, Los Lunas, New Mexico
  6. Ranch for Kids Project, Eureka, Montana (coming soon)
  7. The Learning Clinic, Brooklyn, Connecticut (coming soon)
  8. Ben Bronz Academy, West Hartford, Connecticut (coming soon)
  9. Rebecca School, New York, New York (coming soon)
  10. Winston Preparatory School, New York, New York (coming soon)
            
Psychological issues of older internationally adopted children: courses and publications
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Last update on February 17, 2017